Pennsylvania must recommit to the benefits of solar power

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In response to the Post-Gazette editorial on President Barack Obama's new climate change plans ("Climate Control," June 30), we agree that it is imperative that he remain committed to protecting future generations from a warming planet.

We urge our legislators to do the same, especially when it comes to renewable energy. Moving away from a carbon-based economy not only addresses climate change, but it also presents enormous opportunities to our region. Solar cleans up our dirty air -- air fouled by burning fossil fuels. A recent Carnegie Mellon University study revealed that we in Pittsburgh get a bigger bang for our buck with solar than places in the sunnier Southwest, because of double-whammy benefits of cleaning our air and producing power. We see it as a triple benefit. More jobs are created per installed kilowatt of solar than any fossil fuel.

While we aren't going to move completely to renewables overnight, we need to make a concerted effort in that direction sooner rather than later. Pennsylvania was the fourth-leading solar state a few years ago, but we've dropped to 10th as other states surpass our solar requirements. Germany (which gets as little sun as Alaska) and Ontario (our northern neighbor) are on track to generate large percentages of electricity from solar in the next five years. Imagine what we can do in Pennsylvania!

Hundreds of homes and businesses in Western Pennsylvania have gone solar and are realizing the financial benefits. With the 30 percent federal tax credit, the PA Sunshine rebate and depreciation (for businesses), the systems can be paid for in as little as seven years, generating free electricity (and revenue) for 25 years after that. If Pennsylvania renewed its commitment to solar, we'd have cash-free, carbon-free and air pollution-free energy even sooner than that.

Mr. President, the solar industry is ready to serve our country.

Solar Unified Network of Western Pennsylvania

The writer is representing Abender Corp., Scalo Solar Solutions, Honeycomb Solar, Energy Independent Solutions, Adam Solar Resources and Standard Solar/Standard Energy Solutions.



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